On Friday 18 March 2016, Salah Abdeslam was detained in the Brussels municipality of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. He had been sought by police for the previous four months in connection with the role he played in the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015. During that time he had been at the top of the most wanted list, but had manage to evade capture.
Three days before he was finally detained Salah Abdeslam had manage to escape when police raided a house where he had been staying in the Brussels municipality of Vorst. There was a shootout and Salah Abdeslam and Sofien Ayari managed to escape. A third terrorist that was at the house was shot and killed. Last year Abdeslam and Ayari were given 20-year prison sentence at a trial held last year.
Just four days after Salah Abdeslam’s arrest Belgium was rocked by two terrorist attacks, the first at the country’s busiest airport, the second at the Maalbeek metro station.
Abdeslam is now an official suspect in the investigation into the attacks. He is not suspected of direct involvement in the attacks themselves, but rather in have taken part in terrorist activity surrounding the attacks. He was part of the same terrorist cell that carried out the attacks.
The 22 March terrorist attacks trial will take place sometime next year in the former NATO building in Brussels.